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Mazda sees hydrogen cars available on large scale by 2020 at best

Honda has started the first commercial production of a hydrogen-powered car, a medium-sized four seater called the FCX Clarity which has a top speed of 160 kilometres (100 miles) an hour.
by Staff Writers
Madrid (AFP) June 30, 2008
Hydrogen-powered cars will not be commercially available on a large scale before 2020, a senior official from Japanese auto maker Mazda said Monday in Spain at an international oil conference.

"The earliest that customers will use these environmentally-friendly vehicles in a normal way will be 2020," the general manager of the firm's technical research centre, Tsutomu Matsuoka, said at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid, one of the oil industry's biggest events.

"We have many things to do before then," he said.

Infrastructure making it possible for drivers of hydrogen-powered cars to refuel must be put in place before the vehicles are widely used, Matsuoka said.

A way to mass produce the cars at an affordable price must also be found before they take off as an alternative to traditional petrol (gasoline) powered vehicles, he added.

Mazda is one of several auto makers working on the development of hydrogen-powered cars amid growing concerns over soaring oil prices and pollution. Electric-powered vehicles are also in the works.

Earlier this month, its rival Japanese manufacturer Honda started the first commercial production of a hydrogen-powered car, a medium-sized four seater called the FCX Clarity which has a top speed of 160 kilometres (100 miles) an hour.

Honda will start leasing the cars, which run on an electric motor powered by hydrogen fuel cells and only emit water vapour as waste, to residents of southern California by the end of August.

The International Energy Agency has said that hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cells could play a key role in weaning energy users away from oil, gas and coal which have been blamed for climate change.

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